Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nina Gebhardt was sworn in as an American citizen this morning, the oath given by Immigrations officer
Evangelista McKee. Photo by Julia Neal
NINA GEPHARDT IS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. The 76-year-old was sworn in today by Evangelina McKee, a U.S. Immigrations Officer II, who flew in from Honolulu and drove out to Pahala for the paper signing and to retrieve Gebhardt’s green card in exchange for citizenship papers. Gebhardt lives in Pahala with her husband, Captain James Gebhardt. The couple arrived from Germany aboard ship in Hilo on Jan. 5, 2004 aboard the MS Deutschland and bought a house in Pahala in October of the same year. Nina Gebhardt understands five languages, but the progression of muscular dystrophy has made it impossible for her to talk in recent years. The Immigration Service agreed to come to her home for the citizenship ceremony this morning. Capt. Gebhardt is a retired military man and retired commercial pilot. He is also a boat captain. In Pahala, he has made it one of his community missions to obtain a helicopter landing pad for Ka`u Hospital. He has been working on the issue since 2009. He said that U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard helped with the citizenship process. State Sen. Russell Ruderman visited with the Gebhardts this afternoon to congratulate them on Nina becoming a U.S. citizen.
     To comment on this story, go to https://www.facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kaiwi Perkins, Dayva Keolanui, Caroline Garrett, Lynn Hamilton, Russell
Ruderman and Gaye Polido helped fold The Ka`u Calendar today.
Photo by Julia Neal
STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN DROPPED IN on the volunteer sorting and folding of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper’s August edition this morning. He also took a tour of the irrigation and hydroelectric system project on Olson Trust lands along Wood Valley Road and met with the Scenic Byway Committee of the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. According to chair Marge Elwell, Ruderman will consider, through Capital Improvement Project funding, helping with establishment of scenic byway educational signage and pullout locations for those traveling along Hwy 11 through Ka`u. She said that Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Denny Coffman have also shown support. 

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR is supporting a special resource study of the Ka`u Coast for inclusion in the national park system. At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today, Stephanie Toothman, associate director of Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science at the National Park Service, reported that while significant cultural features, geological forms and coastal-marine natural resources of the study area are each represented to some extent within other national parks in Hawai`i, “in no other location do these features coexist in such a long and uninterrupted coastal landscape with continuous scenic, interpretive, and recreational integrity. Compared to existing coastal managed areas within the state, it is uniquely wild, yet accessible. 
      “Based upon the significance of the resources in the Ka`u study area, and the current integrity and intact condition of these resources, the reconnaissance survey resulted in a preliminary finding of national significance and suitability.”
      Today’s hearing considered the Pacific Islands Parks Act, introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz, which calls for the National Park Service to complete studies of the Ka`u Coast and two other sites in Hawai`i.
The U.S. Department of the Interior supports a special resource study of
the Ka`u Coast. Photo by Peter Anderson
      “The Pacific Island Parks Act is making good progress in the United States Senate, Schatz said in a media release. “This bill would improve our local economy, preserve our parks and increase tourism in Hawai`i. Hawai`i is home to some of the most incredible and unique sites, many of which have been designated as national parks. By passing this legislation, we would be opening the door to protecting additional sites while also contributing to tourism and economic growth. I will continue to work with my colleagues, including Chairman Ron Wyden, to make this bill a reality."

NEW DRAFT KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN materials are available for public review. The material includes Appendix V4B: “Community Building Analysis,” Appendix V4D: “Preferred Future Growth Patterns” and an updated Appendix V6: “Glossary.”
      Appendix V4B covers issues that directly impact the quality of community life in Ka`u, like land use, infrastructure, services, design, and redevelopment. It outlines existing policy, summarizes related planning initiatives and introduces alternative strategies available to achieve Ka`u’s community objectives. The focus is on developed areas in Ka`u, including Pahala, Punalu`u, Na`alehu, Wai`ohinu, the Discovery Harbour area and Ocean View. It also focuses on regulations, infrastructure, and strategies that impact their future.
      Appendix V4D assesses historical, contemporary and future human settlement patterns relative to a community’s goals and objectives for resource management, community development, and economic development.
      Planner Ron Whitmore said the draft materials are works-in-progress. He expects that they will be revised as conditions change and new information becomes available.
      The Steering Committee will discuss the materials at its Tuesday, Aug. 13 meeting at the Ocean View Community Association Center. The 5:30 p.m. meeting is open to the public, and comment on agenda items is invited.
      In an effort to diversify Ka`u CDP outreach, the project now has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kaucdp. This page is intended to provide updates on the CDP’s status and not meant to be an interactive page or for public comment. “‘Like’ the page if you’d like to use it to follow the CDP, but please give your feedback where it can be used in a meaningful way at http://www.hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp/feedback-1,” Whitmore suggests. The deadline for feedback on Appendices V4B and V4D is Monday, Sept. 9.
      Reference copies are available at Pahala Public & School Library, Pahala Community Center, Na`alehu Public Library, Na`alehu Community Center, Discovery Harbour Community Association Center, Ocean View Community Association Center and Kona and Hilo Planning Department offices. The material is available online at hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp.
To comment on this story, go to https://www.facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park fire crew members Andrew Lee (left) and
Al Aviles remove a large fallen koa tree on Mauna Loa Road Tuesday
morning. NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane.
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK HAS REOPENED areas that were closed due to Tropical Storm Flossie. Kilauea Visitor Center returned to normal operating hours of 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. daily. 
      Storm impacts were minimal, reported Jessica Ferracane, of Public Affairs. A large koa tree fell across Mauna Loa Road. It was removed, and the road, popular with hikers and birdwatchers, reopened late Tuesday morning.

KA`U NONPROFITS ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY for Walmart SGC grants by the final deadline for 2013 on Aug. 9. Minimum grant amounts are $25,000. Details and the online application are at www.walmartfoundation.org/stategiving
      The Walmart Foundation’s Hawai`i State Giving Council recently announced $126,000 in grants from the first grant-giving cycle for 2013 to three Hawai`i nonprofits — Family Promise of Hawai`i, Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice and Junior Achievement of Hawai`i.
      “At Walmart, we understand that nonprofit organizations are essential to building stronger communities across the islands, said Rey Armijo, Walmart’s Hawai`i market manager. “We’re proud to give back to the communities we serve and are hopeful that Hawai`i residents will feel a positive effect through these grants.”
      To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation Hawai`i State Giving Program’s online grant application. Applicants must have a current 501(c)3 tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria.

Tropical Storm Gil is not expected to impact Hawai`i.
 Image from accuweather.com
HURRICANE GIL IS GATHERING STRENGTH as he follows a westward path from Baja California in Mexico. 
      Although Gil is currently a hurricane, he is expected to be weakened by increasing vertical wind shear and stable, dry air.
      Gil is not expected to impact Hawai`i, but he could pass nearby next week.
      Another Gil was a tropical storm when he passed just north of the state in 1983.

NA`ALEHU PUBLIC LIBRARY BEGINS SHOWINGS of free family movies tomorrow. Movies begin at 2:30 p.m. every Thursday. All ages are welcome. For more information, call 939-2442.

STEWARDSHIP IN THE PARK takes place tomorrow and once per week throughout August and September. Volunteers help Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park by cutting invasive kahili ginger on park trails from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Loppers and gloves are provided. Participants are encouraged to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes. Water, snacks, rain gear and sun protection are recommended. This project is open to the public, and no reservations are required; interested people can stop by Kilauea Visitor Center to get directions and more information.




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